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Takahashi wins nordic combined finale; Spillane 10th, Lodwick 11th for U.S.


Takahashi wins nordic combined finale; Spillane 10th, Lodwick 11th for U.S.{mosimage}USSA — Todd Lodwick collected the 100th World Cup top-15 of his career Saturday in the final event of the nordic combined season. Japan’s Daito Takahashi won the event at Lahti, Finland, with Johnny Spillane 10th and Lodwick 11th.

Takahashi, who earned his first World Cup victory Friday in a sprint event at the Finnish Ski Games, led the K116 jumping Saturday and won by 44 seconds over Austrian Felix Gottwald.

Spillane, continuing his rebound from early season sickness, was seventh in jumping and finished 2:12.9 behind Takahashi. Lodwick, 27 and completing his 11th year with the U.S. Ski Team, moved up three places in the 15km race, finishing 2:29.2 back.

He finished seventh in the points, the seventh consecutive season Lodwick has been top 10 in the final standings. “It’s been satisfying — a lot of good moments — but it’s also been a long season,” Lodwick said. “We’re all ready for some down time.”

“It was a hard race — there’s no skiing; it was all up or down. The hills weren’t skiable,” Lodwick said. “There’s no one highlight for me this season; it’s a combination of things: 100 times in the top-15, [winning] the German Grand Prix where [national star Ronny] Ackermann was the favorite, 13 top-10s was awesome, putting three podiums back-to-back-to-back — I’ve never done that before, so there’s a lot of good for the season.”

He added, “We’re all looking forward to spring time, being back in Steamboat, hanging out … and nationals [March 20-21 in Steamboat].

Spillane, the sprint world champion from a year ago who was hobbled through the first half of the season and didn’t post a top-20 until the end of January, agreed. “It’s nice to finally feel good about what I’m doing out there. It was definitely a trying time in the early part of the season — being sick and not jumping well, not being able to train — so this is a good way to end the season; it’ll give me good motivation for training and building into next season.”

Head coach Bard Elden said he felt the competition would be “a little more open but the top guys are still in good shape and they didn’t let anyone in. It’s so good to have Johnny back and Todd’s consistency all season has been outstanding. So, we’ll take some time off and then come back for nationals.”

Nordic Combined World Cup
Finnish Ski Games, Lahti, Finland
March 6. 2004
Individual K116/15km FR

1. Daito Takahashia, Japan, (1/14)
2. Felix Gottwald, Austria, (13/4) 44.0 seconds back
3. Samppa Lajunen, Finland, (17/5) 53.3
4. Hannu Manninen, Finland, (26/2) 54.8
5. Sebastien Haseney, Germany, (28/1) 55.7
Also:
10. Johnny Spillane, Steamboat Springs, Colo., (7/19) 2:12.9
11. Todd Lodwick, Steamboat Springs, Colo., (14/12) 2:29.2



Ski Racing Magazine LB1